COSATU Message of Support: ANC 2024 Elections Manifesto Launch

Programme Director, comrade Gwede Mantashe,

President of the ANC and incoming President of the 7th administration, Cyril Ramaphosa,

Leadership of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, and our Federation, COSATU,

Comrades and most importantly workers across our beloved nation,

We are honoured to offer our support to the ANC.  We are celebrating 30 years since apartheid ended and more importantly 30 years of building a better life one school, one clinic, one factory at a time.

As we approach the elections, we see many parties promising heaven and earth, yet only one party has actually changed the lives of millions of working-class families.

Some say 1994 was long ago.  Let us never forget the sacrifices it took Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Ruth First and many others to reach that moment.

We are proud of our democracy.  It is this democratic state led by the ANC that has worked to improve the fortunes of ordinary workers.

Today we have the right to form trade unions, to safe working conditions, to unemployment and injury on duty insurance, to paid maternity and parental leave.

We now have a government that invests 60% of its budget in working-class communities, from building houses to hospitals and roads, providing social grants for 27 million people and free tertiary education for a million students.

It is this ANC government led by President Cyril Ramaphosa who passed the National Minimum Wage raising the wages of 6 million workers.  It has nearly doubled the wages of 2 million farm and domestic workers since it was introduced 5 years ago.

Recently the ANC with COSATU amended our labour laws to increase protections for 900 000 domestic workers and impose strict penalties on those who abuse women.

During COVID-19, government working with COSATU at Nedlac released R65 billion from the UIF helping 6 million workers care for their families. Together we managed a deadly pandemic, saving millions of lives and livelihoods.  Today 8 million persons receive the SRD Grant. 

On 1 September this year, the Two Pot Pension Reforms allowing millions of struggling workers early access to their pension funds will come into effect because we have a government that listens to workers.

Whilst we are proud of are victories, we know the pain working class families face from unemployment to poverty, from crime to corruption, from loadshedding to cable theft.  Yet even in these difficult times, we are turning the corner.

We have seen real improvements in reducing loadshedding and fixing Transnet.  An additional 30 000 police officers have been employed to protect our communities.

Change takes time and it can be frustrating, but change is happening.  The ANC has shown no matter how powerful you may be, justice will catch up to you. 

We are asking workers to vote for the ANC not simply because of what it has done, but what must still be done. 

This manifesto belongs to all of us.  It lays a path for universal health care, a basic income grant, for reliable and affordable electricity, modern ports and rail, quality public services and massive investments in mining, manufacturing and agricultural.

As we grow the economy, we must continue to provide relief for the unemployed and expand the Presidential Employment Programmes to help young people earn a salary and gain the skills needed to find work.

We are convinced the ANC, a movement built by workers, remains the most effective vehicle to improve the lives of working-class communities.  We have no doubt President Ramaphosa will lead us to that better life. 

He was there when mine workers stood up to the apartheid regime in 1985, he was there when the ANC negotiated the democratic transition, he was there when our Constitution was born in 1996, he was there when farm workers demanded a minimum wage, he was there as we navigated COVID-19.

We will be there with President Ramaphosa on May 29 as we deliver an overwhelming victory for the ANC.

Thank you.  Amandla!